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What makes a gatekeeper? Insights from the Finnish nano-community


  • Tuomo Nikulainen


In the process of transferring scientific knowledge to industry the role of individual academics has received less attention than the other actors in this process. This paper aims to identify the characteristics of these key individuals, or gatekeepers, by analysing them within the context of technology transfer in a science and technology community. The estimation results show that individuals who are able to provide firms with relevant research information and results are connected to the firms informally and formally. They have commercial motivations in their research and are more likely to act as gatekeepers in social networks. On the other hand, some of the a priori assumptions of these characteristics fail to have significant influence.

Suggested Citation

  • Tuomo Nikulainen, 2007. "What makes a gatekeeper? Insights from the Finnish nano-community," DRUID Working Papers 07-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:07-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bozeman, Barry, 2000. "Technology transfer and public policy: a review of research and theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 627-655, April.
    2. Meyer, Martin, 2000. "Does science push technology? Patents citing scientific literature," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 409-434, March.
    3. Arthur Gerstenfeld & Paul Berger, 1980. "An Analysis of Utilization Differences for Scientific and Technical Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(2), pages 165-179, February.
    4. Stephan, Paula E., 2010. "The Economics of Science," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, in: Bronwyn H. Hall & Nathan Rosenberg (ed.),Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 217-273, Elsevier.
    5. Palmberg, Christopher & Pajarinen, Mika & Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2007. "Transferring Science-based Technologies to Industry - Does Nanotechnology Make a Difference?," Discussion Papers 1064, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    6. Michael L. Tushman & Ralph Katz, 1980. "External Communication and Project Performance: An Investigation into the Role of Gatekeepers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(11), pages 1071-1085, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Meissner, Dirk & Shmatko, Natalia, 2017. "“Keep open”: the potential of gatekeepers for the aligning universities to the new Knowledge Triangle," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 191-198.
    2. Christiane Götze, 2007. "Netzwerke und Leistungseliten in Forschung und Entwicklung," Jena Research Papers in Business and Economics - Working and Discussion Papers (Expired!) 22/2007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Natalia A. Shmatko & Yurij L. Katchanov, 2015. "Gatekeepers in Russian High-Tech: A Study of Heads of Leading Research Centers," HSE Working papers WP BRP 39/STI/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2013. "Generating commercial ideas in Finnish universities. The role of interdisciplinarity and networking," ETLA Working Papers 9, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    5. Nikulainen, Tuomo, 2007. "Identifying Nanotechnological Linkages in the Finnish Economy - An Explorative Study," Discussion Papers 1101, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

    More about this item


    Technology transfer; nanotechnology; social networks; gatekeepers;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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